If you’re family is like mine in spring time we are at a stale spot with our meals. It seems like we’ve exhausted all of our winter meals to no end and yet we aren’t QUITE ready for the fresh food of summer.
This is often the time of year our menu needs a refresh. It’s also the time of year we seem to the busiest. Between school activities, extra work opportunities and family obligations, we seem to be running from place to place with little time to plan out a healthy meal. Not to mention the longer days and nicer weather, which leaves us outside longer with less time to cook.
These circumstances make a perfect excuse to use the InstantPot. If you haven’t used one, they are kind of amazing. Essentially it’s a pressure cooker with many options that make cooking really quick and clean up really simple.
I wanted to share with you a round-up of some of my favorite healthy recipes that use the InstantPot.
1. Instant Pot Healthy Chicken Pot Pie Soup
Shared from Cheryl at 40 Aprons
This one is Paleo and Whole 30 approved! Plus it's gluten free and dairy free. Cheryl at 40 Aprons shares that this soup is comforting and creamy. Great comfort food. It takes just 30 minutes to put together.
3. Instant Pot Mongolian Beef
Shared from Ashley at Healthy Little Peach.
This one can be cooked in just 20 minutes and is also Whole 30 approved and Paleo. If you don't want to use the instant pot, you can also use a crockpot with her variation at the end of the recipe.
3. Instant Pot Balsamic Chicken
Shared from Kelly at Life Made Sweeter
This one is Whole30 Approved, low carb, Keto Friendly and Paleo Friendly. This is a perfect fuss free meal and you can easily swap out the veggies for any other veggies you want. This is just 10 minute prep and 20 minutes in the Instant Pot.
4. Instant Pot Ginger Lime Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Shared from Randa at The Bewitchin Kitchen
This one can be made in the crockpot or in the slow cooker. If you're following the Whole30 plan, this one fits in to those requirements. She even has ideas to add more veggies to spice it up a bit.
5. Instant Pot Pumpkin Oatmeal
Shared by Justine at The Typical Mom
Did you know you could make oatmeal in a snap with the instant pot? Adding pumpkin can add extra fiber and protein to your breakfast. This one is perfect for kiddos in the morning.
6. Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala
Shared from Lindsey at All the Nourishing Things
This is a quick and easy, super flavorful Indian-inspired dish. Serve it with brown rice or cauli-rice. This meal has lots of anti-inflammatory spices and is Whole 30 Approved and keto-friendly.
7. Instant Pot Chicken Burrito Bowls
Shared from Megan at Detoxinista
Who doesn't love a tasty burrito bowl? You can make these with cauliflower rice for a great low-carb option. You can make this in just 30 minutes and it's Whole30 approved. Mix it up by changing veggies for a different twist.
8. Instant Pot Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
Shared from Sandy at Simply Happy Foodie
I love this spring time lemon soup. It's dairy free and low carb. You can make this one in just 20 minutes prep time and 13 minutes cook time. Perfect for a spring time dinner.
9. Instant Pot Egg Bites
Shared from Sarah at Sustainable Cooks
Have you heard of Egg Bites? They're a copycat recipe from Starbucks breakfast menu. They're perfect for a quick morning breakfast and they are Whole30 Approved, paleo and dairy free. YES! Make these during your food prep for the week and you're set on breakfasts.
10. Instant Pot Cashew Chicken
Shared from Bailey at Whole Kitchen Sink
Take out inspired and de-licious. This one is gluten free, paleo friendly and Whole30 Approved. In just 30 minutes you can have a delicious meal served over rice or cauliflower rice.
What are your favorite ways to cook quick and cook healthy?
From a young age I grew up in a house where goal setting was just an everyday occurrence. As an adult, I now realize what a beneficial tool this has been throughout my own life. Almost everything I want to accomplish or anything I want to achieve can be categorized as a goal. And goals are not the same as resolutions or wishes. No, goals should be looked at as something that WILL be attained. The first step to setting and achieving the goals you want is to change that small, yet powerful, mindset.
Looking at goals as something that you will have (and something you’re close to getting) can help push yourself forward. When you talk to yourself like your in the process of achieving these goals, or better yet, that you HAVE achieved these goals, your brain hears this. Our brains can work for us when we’re choosing the right language and positivity. It propels us forward and keeps us on the fast track to achieving our dreams.
There are some other really important things to keep in mind when setting goals. Whether it’s goals for the day, the week or for this next year, you can make sure that you’re hitting your mark every time by following these ideas:
1. Be Specific
2. Answer the "How?"
3. Five Steps or Less
Five Steps or Less: Some dreams are really big and they have to be broken down into a few steps. These really big dreams might be more long term and require several steps. But for a more short term, attainable goal, it’s best to keep it to five steps or less. This makes it easier for our brains to digest and accomplish.
For example, if your goal is to pay off debt it might include a step of starting a budget, another step of reducing spending and yet another step of increasing your income coming in. These are all small steps to break down your end goal. By breaking it down into these small, attainable steps, you not only sort it out for your brain, but you also keep momentum as you knock out “mini goals” on the way to the big one.
It’s like a weight loss goal. If you’re looking to drop a particular amount of weight, each pound you lose is likely to give you another push forward. When you see yourself accomplishing parts of what you set out to do, it feels good! You’re basically validating yourself and the hard work you’re doing.
4. Being Realistic is Key
Don’t make your goals so big they’re out of reach. If your goal is to run a marathon by the end of summer and you’re not a runner at all, you may want to rethink that goal. This isn’t meant to sound harsh or sound negative at all. But we have to be realistic about our bodies, our schedule and our current circumstances. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t set goals that are maybe a LITTLE too big. If a goal is too small, you won’t be pushing yourself to get there. If a goal is too big, you’ll likely be bummed when you don’t hit it and won’t continue setting more goals in this area.
The key is to make that goal JUST the right size. This might take a little planning and thinking on your part, but it’s completely doable. Just analyze your life and where you are currently. Make sure you’re working forward and at the right pace. Reverse engineering a goal is a great way to put in perspective the work involved to get there.
If you’ve already gone through your steps to get to the goal, start by checking in on those. Are they attainable? If the steps need to be tweaked and changed slightly, you can change your end goal based on those. It’s a really good way to double check and make sure you’re expectations are in line with your lifestyle and circumstances.
5. Work it into Your Daily Routine or Schedule
I use a to-do list app every day where I have my steps for my goals listed out. One big dream we have is to pay off our house. That means every day I have a to do list item to check in on our budget app, look at where money is going and check on what’s coming in. It literally takes me five minutes of my morning routine, but I make sure I do it to stay on track.
You can even add a calendar appointment to your phone if you need help remembering it or staying committed. This works especially well if your goal is fitness related. Scheduling that time to work out or that time to meal prep can be key. If it’s on a calendar, you’re more likely to do it.
6. Is Your WHY Big Enough?
This is going to be completely personal to each individual. But, looking at your why is HUGE. Most often I hear people say that their “Why” (or the reason they want to make this goal SO bad) is because of their kids. They want their kids to see a healthy example, or they want to provide for their kids in a particular way. Whatever the reason, just know that understanding why you want something can help you achieve your goals and stick with them.
Often if our “why” is a more surface reason, or a shallow reason, we won’t stick with it. If you’re eating healthier to look more toned for the beach this summer, you might not stick with your habits come September. If you’re wanting to get more organized for tax time, you may not stick with it after that.
When your reasoning for achieving these goals is bigger and a deeper level, you will not only stick with these goals, but you’ll probably make these habits and changes to your life permanent.
You might have to dig deep with this one. Is the reason you want to change your exercise habits to make life less cumbersome? Is it so that you feel more comfortable in your own skin? Is it to break a family cycle and stop it dead in its tracks? Whatever it is really think about it and make sure it’s deep enough that you’ll stick with it for the long haul.
7. Focus on One Goal at a Time
But really planning out one goal at a time is the key. Once you’ve got it planned out and you’ve got those steps as part of your daily habits and routines, you can move on to the next goal and start moving forward. Stagger those goals a bit and make sure you’re not overwhelming yourself or taking on too much at once.
My morning routine is something that ends up setting my whole day in motion, either positively or negatively. Over the years, my routine has changed numerous times, depending on what was going on in my life. When my kids were babies the routine was chaotic at best as every day started off a bit different. But even as my kids have grown and we have a pretty solid routine, it changes from season to season.
What I know about my routine now is that there are a few small things I do just about EVERY SINGLE morning to help me set my day in a positive direction. I find that if I decide to skip these small but positive acts, I have a hard time getting into my groove the rest of the day. Some days it requires a little bit of finagling to get it all in, but I know that if I can squeeze these things in, my day seems to be more on track.
When I set my intention for the day and really ground myself at the very start, it seems like most things throughout the day end up bringing me joy. I attribute this to the fact that I have my long term goals in mind. I also have in the back of my mind any challenge is merely a season and I will grow and learn from it in the end.
Below are some of the habits I’ve formed for my morning routine that help me throughout my entire day.
SKIP SOCIAL MEDIA & EMAIL
One of the best choices I’ve made is to charge my phone in my Master Bathroom and NOT on my nightstand. I have not only slept better, but I’ve also gotten out of the habit of scrolling through social media accounts FIRST thing in the morning.
To be honest, this practice brought me absolutely no joy. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Not only was I starting my day completely not present in my own life, I was beginning my day comparing myself to others’ highlight reels.
As an entrepreneur I use social media for connecting with others quite a bit, but there is a time and place for this, and first thing in the morning wasn’t for me.
I also made it a habit to not even look at my email until after I had my day started. If someone emailed me over night, it could wait until “business hours.” I don’t need to start my day responding to other people, right? I can start my day how I want and by doing what’s best for my and my family.
GET READY FOR THE DAY
I know this might sound like a no-brainer, but when you have kids at home, it makes a HUGE difference in how the day goes. I know for me if I showered, took time to put on at least a little makeup and fix my hair, it made a world of difference in how I felt the rest of the day.
Sometimes I just threw my hair in a bun and other days I had time to dry my hair. It’s all about being flexible with your routine, but at least doing what makes you feel good. In the summer my makeup routine seems to be a lot less than in the winter, but I always take care to nourish my skin with healthy products.
When I take care of myself I feel like I’m ready to take care of the rest of my family. And feeling put together and ready for the day, makes me feel like I’m ready to do anything and go anywhere.
While puting on my makeup and doing my hair doesn’t necessarily give me incredible joy, it does help me feel confident, which helps me the rest of the day.
Every morning I set time aside for me and for God. I make sure I have a quiet space without distractions and I focus my mind on Him. Sometimes my devotion has been reading a chapter of an uplifting book and sometimes it’s been a Bible Study I’m working on with friends. Either way, I make sure that I have time that is fully devoted to Him.
I take this time and pray, asking God to please help me and guide me throughout the day. I ask Him to show me where He wants me this day and I ask him to open my mind and my heart.
I have found that this truly helps me set the intention for the whole day. With this practice I help myself by keeping in mind all day long that He is with me and He has my best interest at heart. It reminds me I don’t need to sweat the small stuff and I can 100% rely on Him throughout my day.
When I start the day by asking Him to guide me, I feel like my mind is more open and more receptive to His voice.
Whether you read a self-help book in the morning, pray or read a devotion, I highly recommend it to set your intention for the day.
WRITE OUT THOSE GOALS
Another thing I do in the morning, is I start my day with essential oils that provide emotional support. I started using oils about two years ago and I honestly cannot imagine my life without them at this point.
I started using them to promote health in our constantly sick home, and over time I’ve continued using them for emotional support. I love the uplifting feeling they provide and I love the support they offer my kids (who have the biggest emotions of all of us).
These oils have really enhanced my devotion time and my journaling time to keep me grounded and present. I use them throughout the day to lift my mood and provide peace and joy at the same time.
One of my favorite blends to diffuse is Abundance while I’m journaling. And sometimes, I need a big pick me up when I go to En-R-Gee with Peppermint. Below are some of my favorite blends for my morning routine:
One of my favorite things to do is find a bargain. It may be a genetic trait handed down, or maybe I just love the satisfaction it gives me to get something for less. Either way, I love being able to save money on just about anything.
And grocery shopping is NO exception. This is why I do most of my shopping at Aldi. I wasn’t always and Aldi shopper, but over the past few years I have come to love it. I turned my nose up at first and didn’t like how small the store was. But one summer while some roads to our main grocery store were closed for road work, I decided to give it another shop.
I’m so glad I did because I honestly have a hard time shopping anywhere else now. I truly love the size of Aldi now because it takes me a lot less time to shop. And I don’t think I could ever go back to a grocery store bill that’s 40% more expensive.
There are still things that I have to grab from a Super Target or grocery store that Aldi just doesn’t carry, but for the most part, everything we buy is from Aldi.
One of the things I love about Aldi is that eating healthy and organic food doesn’t have to be an expensive habit.
HOW TO COMPARE PRICES FROM HOME
MEAL PLAN TO SAVE MONEY
MY ALDI SHOPPING LIST
MAKE AHEAD INSTEAD OF BUYING FROZEN MEALS
TRY FOR ZERO WASTE
What are your best tips for keeping your grocery bill down without sacrificing the quality of your food?
When I first began doing fitness at home with videos, it was a costly habit. The internet wasn’t the valuable resource it is now when it comes to the number of free and inexpensive programs. Because of this, I would order videos from infomercials (hello, The Firm!), borrow them from a friend or get them at the library. And then I would do those videos over and over and over again with almost no variety.
Maybe I’m revealing too much about my age, but I’m SO glad those days are gone! In the past few years I’ve tried a few other workout videos and programs at home and had some really positive results with them.
I’ve always enjoyed working out at home, just because it takes the complexity out of trying to squeeze in some exercise. There’s no driving to the gym, loading up a bag, planning my outfit, etc. And I don’t need to worry about how crowded it will be. Nowadays, it’s a bonus because I can get up early and workout before my kids wake up, or I can even workout for a half hour while they play nearby.
Working out at home is definitely one of the things that has helped me stay active and healthy for the majority of my adult life.
Plus, there are amazing resources available online that you can access for free. And the sheer variety of videos and programs means you won’t get bored, and you’re less likely to hit a plateau from doing the same repetitive workouts over and over.
These are my top picks for free workout videos online:
Yoga with Adriene
Tone it Up
Jessica Smith TV
Get Healthy U
Shauna Kathleen YouTube Channel
Do you have a favorite free resource for working out?
Ah, the ectomorph body type. Most of us are a little jealous of their thin frame that carries very little extra fat. This body type is often referred to as a "thin frame" as they have small joints and smaller bones. An ectomorph will carry very little fat, but with that they also have little muscle as well. While an ectomorph is usually the envy of onlookers, it comes with it's own set of challenges.
AN ectomorph maintains a thin frame throughout their whole life, and in general have a very difficult time puting on muscle and keeping it on. There is a lot of training involved for an ectomorph to put muscle on their bodies. It requires the right kind of training and the proper nutrition and sleep in order to foster muscle growth.
In general an ectomorph has a smaller appetite and is often full shortly after eating. (Occasionally we see the complete opposite -- which makes most of us jealous!) An ectomorph has a fairly high metabolism, which allows them to eat a gambit of food without seeing weight fluctuations. Again, while this may seem like an advantage, it can also lead to malnutrition and can lead to the infamous "skinny fat" situation.
Ectomorphs can also have an advantage when it comes to muscle building, however, as their bodies have very little fat, they will notice the results of weight training quickly through muscle definition.
DIET for the Ectomorph
Someone with the ectomorph body type should focus their diet on carbohydrates and protein. And not just any old carbohydrate. It's best to consume complex carbs like pasta, high fiber grains, rice and dried fruit. These will help with the small appetite of the ectomorph. In fact an ectomorph should aim to make about 50% of their calories from carbohydrates.
The other large part of the ectomorph diet is protein. This will be essential for muscle gain. A diet of about 30% of their calories from protein is ideal. But with a protein rich diet, it's also important for the ectomorph to consume A LOT of water. This will help with digestion and will also aid the muscles repairing themselves after weight focused workouts.
Ectomorphs should also focus on high density foods such as almonds, peanut butter and avocados. Snacks should be nutrient dense foods such as these. An ectomorph should avoid empty calorie foods and avoid fried and junk foods at all costs. These foods will leave an ectomorph full, but won't give their body or muscles proper nutrition.
While most diet plans don't mention fruits or vegetables for the ectomorph, they are still an important part of any healthy diet. Choose fruits and vegetables with more nutrients than water based produce (for example eating spinach as opposed to celery). This will help get the ectomorph proper nutrition while making sure there is still enough room for protein and carbs.
EXERCISE for the Ectomorph
The training and exercise for the ectomorph is VERY different from the endomorph or mesomorph. The tough job of puting on muscle plays a HUGE part on the game plan advised for a thin body frame. As mentioned before, even though gaining muscle may be huge task, the ectomorph will be able to see the results due to the low fat content of their bodies.
AN ectomorph will want to focus on HEAVY weight training. However, it is very important not to over-train the ectomorph bodies. To achieve this, it's best to focus on shorter sets of heavy weights with longer rests in between sets. A workout for the ectomorph should be shorter (around 30 minutes). Another thing to keep in mind as an ectomorph is to focus on one muscle group at a time. Avoiding full body weight workouts will ensure an ectomorph isn't over-trained.
Cardio is also important to keep an ectomorph in top-performing shape. That being said, an ectomorph shouldn't focus on steady state cardio like running or cycling. Cardio exercises that are beneficial to the ectomorph are things like swimming, kick-boxing and high intensity interval training. An ectomorph will want to pair these exercises with a lot of muscle work and core training to stay strong.
Just like any body type, there are advantages and disadvantages to the ectomorph. Knowing what's best for your body will help you achieve the goals you've set in your fitness and training routines.
The endomorph body type is categorized by several factors. Generally we refer to this body type as the "apple" or "pear" shape. They are known for having a softer body and while they may be muscular, it's often hidden underneath a layer of fat. They sit at the heavier end of the body-type spectrum. Often times an endomorph body type can be the most difficult body type to train and eat for.
An endomorph has the tendency to store fat quite easily. This means they often times struggle with losing weight because their bodies store the fat so quickly and easily. Usually an endomorph will hold on to that fat in their lower bodies, but they can also hold on to it in the middle section too. Their bodies are generally, overall softer than their counterparts.
An endomorph can have a carb and insulin sensitivity, which can increase the issue of easily storing fat. Their metabolism can be sluggish as well, which makes losing the fat even more of a challenge. They must pay attention carefully to what they eat and have an exercise routine in place in order to shed any fat they have stored.
Endomorphs usually have a larger bone structure, which is great for the heavy weight training that's recommended for their bodies. With proper diet and the right exercise, endomorphs can thrive in their given body type.
DIET for the Endomorph
The diet plan for an endomorph should focus primarily on VEGETABLES. It's important to know what kind of vegetables with this body type. Corn and beans in this case would be considered a carbohydrate. It's important for the endomorph to choose vegetables that are higher in fiber as well.
Endomorphs should stick to a low carb diet. Any carbohydrates consumed should be (1) high in fiber, (2) in the form of vegetables if possible: think yams, beans, corn and peas, and finally (3) free from sugars and fats. Following the Paleo diet guidelines is a great way for an endomorph to practice their eating plan.
Eating fresh, unrefined foods is the best option for the endomorph and avoiding any kind of sugar (that's right even in fruit) is ideal. Endomorphs should be eating around 5-6 smaller meals per day to help with their slower metabolism.
Finally, and endomorph should be taking in natural, lower fat proteins such as chicken, turkey and fish. Their diet should consist of about 35% protein and 35% healthy fats. Healthy fats will be helpful in the weightloss process, but shouldn't be consumed more than vegetables.
EXERCISE for the Endomorph
Exercise for the endomorph is going to focus on cardio and heavy weight lifting. Because the endomorph has such a large bone structure, it is perfect for lifting those heavy weights. It's going to be difficult for an endomorph to stay lean, and so they will want to focus on lifting weights that focus on their larger muscle groups.
Don't be discouraged, endomorphs! You have larger, defined muscles, it's just covered up with fat. Once the fat starts being shed, those muscles and definition will shine on through. For this reason, make sure when you take a rest day, you counter it with an activity such as brisk walks or a type of yoga. Keeping active every day will help improve the metabolism of an endomorph.
Endomorphs can also benefit from a lot of cardio. They will want to choose a combination of high intensity cardio sessions (anything that keeps your heart rate higher for a period of time) and circuit training. When choosing a circuit training routine, it's important to have very little rest in between exercises.
This body type can be a tough one to reign in, but it can be done through dedication to diet and discipline to exercise.
The mesomorph body type is typically an athletic build. Women will often times have an hourglass shape, with wider shoulders and more prominent hips and lower body. The mesomorph sits right in between the ectomorph (normally thin and not as muscular) and the endomorph (big-boned and easily puts on mass). You might be thinking how great having a mesomorph body structure must be, but in actuality it comes with it's own set of challenges.
The mesomorph will have NO problem puting on mass. Unfortunately that means in muscle and in fat. If a mesomorph isn't careful, they can easily become overweight by taking in too many calories from high-fat foods. They typically store fat equally in most areas of their bodies.
The great thing is that as easy as it is for a mesomorph to put on the weight, with hard work and a change in their diet, they can easily take off unwanted weight. Their muscles are a huge benefit as they are thick and powerful and require the use of more calories to maintain.
DIET for the Mesomorph
The diet of a mesomorph should focus on complex carbs and protein. Protein is incredibly important for a mesomorph to maintain their muscles and fuel their body.
Carbohydrates are a bit trickier with mesomorphs. While it is important to have carbs and it will ultimately fuel your body especially after a workout, it is important to know just what kind of cards to take in. It is recommended that a mesomorph body type eat slower absorbing carbs, such as yams, brown rice and other vegetables. It's also a good idea to mix up their carb choices, rotating between fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Another important factor while consuming carbs is to focus on FIBER rich foods. Things like quinoa, and other whole grains will be a huge benefit.
Mesomorphs should avoid foods that are high in sugar as they can lead to quick weight gain if consumed too often. It is especially important to stay away from carbohydrates that are high in sugar.
You want to make sure you are incorporating a decent amount of healthy fats and oils. Flax seed oil and olive oil are great choices. Avocados and other omega 3's are also extremely beneficial to the mesomorph body type.
The mesomorph will benefit from eating 5-7 small meals a day to keep their metabolism high. By eating a balance of 40% carbs, 30% fat and 30% protein, a mesomorph will be able to reach their body type's full potential.
EXERCISE FOR THE MESOMORPH
Exercise and training will come fairly easy to a mesomorph because of their naturally muscular physique. However it is very important for the mesomorph to incorporate rest and stretching days. A mesomorph can very easily over-train their bodies, leading to problems.
The best strategy for a mesomorph is to incorporate a variety of workouts throughout the week. It's recommended that a mesomorph workout about 5 times a week for about 30-45 minutes. Rotating between High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Workouts and steady state cardio is optimum.
When weight training it's best to use moderate to heavy weights. Limited rest between sets is important to continue to strengthen and train the muscles. Circuit training or a boot-camp style workout is a great way to accomplish this.
Changing up the intensity of a workout will continue to challenge the muscles in a mesomorph body type. This includes incorporating things like yoga or Pilates at least one day a week.
Seeking a balanced life through healthy living and a healthy environment
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